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Smithsonian Folklife Festival


The Center annually involves nearly a hundred interns in its activities. Internships are offered year-round in various fields including cultural anthropology, folklore, ethnomusicology, museum studies, arts administration, journalism, graphic and web design, marketing, and library science.

More about internships

Intern projects, conducted under the guidance of the Center’s professional staff, often center on research for, design, and production of the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, web production, educational outreach projects, video projects, or the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives.

Students in folklore, American studies, American history, music, library science, or other fields may be able to arrange course credit for their work here. Interns typically work at least twenty hours per week for six weeks or more, but schedules are flexible. During the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which runs for ten days from late June into early July, interns are expected to be available during much of that time, including the July Fourth holiday and weekends.

Internships can be from six weeks to one year, full- or part-time, though working at least fifteen to twenty hours per week is preferred. Submission deadline for summer internships is March 15; there are no deadlines for getting applications in for the rest of the year. These are non-paying internships.

The online internship application can be found at  and please specify the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. You will be asked to upload supporting material such as essay and resume.

Archives and Resources

If you are interested in volunteering or being an intern in the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, we can put you to work assisting with our tasks of preserving, digitizing, and cataloguing archives collections, creating finding aids for collections, creating web presentations on archival materials, and helping with other projects. We particularly welcome students in library and information studies who want an opportunity to work in a folklife archive as part of their degree program.

Skills you might bring to the tasks include a knowledge of or interest in world folk music traditions, audio engineering, Photoshop and web experience, or library and archival work. If you have further questions about the types of projects available to Archives interns, please contact one of the archivists who will be happy to discuss this with you.

Click to watch video Featured Video

Interns and volunteers worked alongside Mexican cooks in the kitchen area of the Mexico program during the 2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Click here for more videos

Click images to enlarge and view captions